How much is your digital reputation worth?

by Ramya Manoharan | May 03, 2017

Impact of social media on young people

Everyone leaves a digital trail behind. Even some of those who have never been online have a digital footprint. A look at one’s digital footprint reveals a lot about the person, whether they want to keep this information private or not.

A person’s digital reputation is how they are perceived by others online and offline, both now and in the future. It can either be positive or negative.

A negative digital footprint can affect friendships, relationships and even job prospects. So, it is very important that individuals are aware of what picture they are painting of themselves online.

Everything you do online forms your digital reputation or footprint. This need not only be a post you have shared on your social media account. Chats, Whatsapp forwards, any downloads, likes and shares are also recorded online. Engagement with any online content also leaves a digital footprint behind.

A negative digital reputation turns off employers

With this in the background, mull over this fact: 60 per cent of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates, up from 52 per cent last year and 11 per cent in 2006. Around half of hiring managers who screen candidates via social networks said they’ve found information that caused them not to hire a candidate.

The top pieces of content that turned off these employers were:

  • provocative or inappropriate photographs, videos or information
  • information about the candidate drinking or using drugs
  • discriminatory comments related to race, religion, gender etc.

A positive digital reputation can work in your favour

On the other hand 32 per cent of employers who screen candidates via social networks found information that caused them to hire a candidate. The top pieces of content that drew employers to candidates were:

  • the candidate’s background information that supported job qualifications
  • the candidate’s social media platforms conveyed a professional image
  • the candidate’s personality came across as a good fit with the company culture.

‘Privacy settings do not mean your account is private’

“People make the mistake of thinking that ‘privacy settings’ mean ‘private’. This is not the case,” said webinar speaker Michelle Webster of the Alonnah & Madeline Foundation. Privacy settings allow individuals to define who can see what but only to a certain extent. Certain aspects of a social media account are never private, as pointed out in the terms and conditions that a person agrees to before registering for a social media account. For instance, the profile picture of a person’s Facebook account cannot be hidden from public view.

THINK before you post

On the flip side, creating a positive digital footprint is as simple as ‘thinking’. Ask yourself these questions before you post on social media the next time:

  • T – is it true?
  • H – is it helpful?
  • I – is it inspiring?
  • N – is it necessary?
  • K – is it kind?

Stick to these principles. If you answered “No” to any of these questions before you engaged in an online activity, then don’t do it.

Despite the pitfalls, it is not in a child’s best interest to stop all online activity so as to not leave a digital footprint. We are educating young people for the future and technology will continue to evolve. “Young people will be doing jobs that don’t even exist now. Innovation, exploration and risk taking will be beneficial to your child’s future,” said Michelle. Make it a point to inform your child about positive and negative digital reputation and how to use the internet to their advantage.

If you are a member of ASG you can view a recording of the webinar on digital reputation and future employment for the next 30 days on My ASG, the member portal. We hope you find it useful.



Free webinar on young people and online relationships

Please join us for our next free webinar on young people and online relationships on 22 August from 7.30 pm to 8.30 pm AEST. The webinar will be facilitated by the Alannah & Madeline Foundation, who are specialists in cyber safety. Register here for free.



Leave a comment